Marketing through the crisis

If you’re ecstatic to be back to work, it’s OK to tell your customers you missed working with them.
crisis marketing

It’s been tough. Excruciating, really. As the landscape and irrigation industry’s peak spring season slides into summer, so many of us are either easing out of quarantine restrictions or scrambling back into daily operations. As difficult as navigating the pandemic has been, a universal truth remains: No matter the economic conditions, grass and plants are still growing.

Now more than ever through this crisis, it’s important to communicate with your current client list and market to new potential customers.

Craft your crisis marketing message

Your customers want to hear from you. They’ve got questions about how this new normal impacts the services you provide. It’s your job to get them the information they need in clear, concise language.

Open for business. Are you working? Let your customers know. Create messaging that reflects if you’re open or not, and any changes to hours or routines. If you’ve got regular customers on a regular schedule rotation, be sure they know when their service will resume.

Changes to service. Are you performing the same services? Have you devised new services during the pandemic downtime that complements or enriches your previous offerings? Are there new, creative options you can offer to help your customers?

Special COVID-19 accommodations. If there are still restrictions in place in your region, how are you and your crews practicing social distancing and equipment cleaning that customers need to know about? Have you created new online billing systems that limit in-person contact?

Adopt a grateful tone. If you’re ecstatic to be back to work, it’s OK to tell your customers you missed working with them. Thank them for their loyalty and project a hopeful tone for the future. We all need some reassurance right now. A bit of humanity in a crisis goes a long way. Consider this experience as an opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers as we all try to connect in more authentic ways.

Where to deliver your message

Once you know what you want to say, there are many outlets for your messaging. Consider multiple outlets to reach both current and potential new customers.

Website. Consider posting updates on your website homepage or blog. Many companies have created COVID-19 pages on their websites to address coronavirus-related questions.

Email. If you’ve got a customer database, use it. Email marketing platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact allow you to upload your database to send professional emails and track email opens. These programs offer free or low-cost email templates that make your emails look like digital newsletters. Create a link in the email that links to the COVID-19 info on your website.

Social media. If you’ve already established a business page on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, post your messaging on these platforms. Always include a link back to your company website to drive traffic there.

Digital advertising. Paid ads on Facebook and Google Ads can be relatively inexpensive, and they allow you to target your service area and customer demographics.

Direct mail. If you mail out invoices, include information in these envelopes. To reach new potential customers, postcards are can be cost-effective, if targeted at your main customer audiences.

Phone. Don’t forget the phone. If time allows, calling key customers to offer reassurance and to confirm a restart of your services provides a personal touch.

Before you send anything out and market through this crisis, remember to use a spell-checker, and have someone else read your message before you send it to check for clarity, typos and grammar. Need help marketing through this crisis? I’d love to hear from you.

This column originally appeared in Irrigation & Green Industry magazine.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is an award-winning writer, marketing expert and founder of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing and Public Relations, Mount Vernon, Washington, which specializes in green industry marketing. She can be reached at

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